Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ivy Pochoda

Ivy Pochoda graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Classical Greek and English. She was a champion squash player and a six-time member of the United States Women's National Squash Team.

Her debut novel, The Art of Disappearing, was published in 2009.

Pochoda's new novel is Visitation Street.

Last month I asked the author about what she was reading.  Her reply:
Perhaps the single most important goal that I set for myself in writing my recent novel Visitation Street was evoking the neighborhood of Red Hook where the book is set. Red Hook is as important a character to me as any other in the book. I no longer live in Red Hook or in Brooklyn for that matter. I live in Los Angeles. So recently I’ve been reading about LA. I’ve just reread John Fante’s amazing novel Ask the Dust which is set in my current neighborhood—gritty ole downtown LA (DTLA). I’m really drawn to neighborhoods that are layered, indigence on top of industry, a crumbling, decrepit town replacing a rich, glittery one. Fante captures this aspect of downtown Los Angeles magnificently in his unique gruff style.

I’m currently reading (and loving) another Los Angeles novel—Matthew Specktor’s American Dream Machine. Specktor also manages to portray the layers of Los Angeles in ways I’ve never seen before. The Los Angeles of American Dream Machine is in that celluloid city I have little to do with over in my downtown enclave, an oasis that shimmers to the West, both alluring and repugnant. But unlike other stories of Los Angeles, Specktor, in his smart cheerful prose, doesn’t dwell morosely on the dystopia of broken dreams and the city and the industry are more than a serpent eating its own tail.

Now that it’s summer I am going to read the fun stuff. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t read Wolf Hall or Bring Up the Bodies. These seem like the perfect companions for my two week New England vacation.
Visit Ivy Pochoda's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Art of Disappearing.

--Marshal Zeringue